The Private Refugee Sponsor Network (Ontario), also known as PRSN, is an incorporated non-profit organization that assists private refugee sponsor groups – whether faith-based, community-based, or a group of five. We help sponsors connect, learn and share.
Our goal is to promote and ensure the successful post-arrival settlement of newcomers by private sponsors in partnership with many organizations in the refugee settlement sector.
We do not sponsor refugees, find sponsors or serve individual newcomers. We do not help with immigration issues.
We offer services such as networking and training at no cost. Any private sponsor group in Ontario can become associated with PRSN by completing the Contact Us form, to receive information about our activities.
We are the go-to source for information-sharing, and problem-solving around specific post-arrival issues, as well as training to develop best practice. Experienced sponsors can mentor first-time sponsors with immediate answers to pressing issues.
We recognize there are gaps in support services for private sponsors. Settlement agencies and organizations that serve government-assisted refugees are often overwhelmed and are unable to assist private sponsors in a timely way, but we can help. And, we are committed to building new relationships and maintaining existing ones with organizations in the refugee sector.
If you are a private sponsor in another province or territory, we would love to talk about how you can set up a network in your jurisdiction. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We all benefit when we connect, learn and share. We have an opportunity to close the gaps in support to private refugee sponsors when we work together. We have an opportunity to create stronger relationships with settlement agencies and sponsorship agreement holders (SAHs), and we identify what we need to do to ensure best practice. We will be better able to demonstrate the important role we play in settling newcomers in Canada, whether we are in an urban or a smaller or rural community. We are here for you.
Between November 2015 and December 2016, close to 40,000 Syrians arrived in Canada. Forty-five per cent of those newcomers were privately sponsored. Data collected from a variety of sources documented the challenges in both government- assisted refugee settlement and settlement by private sponsors.
Private sponsors who were looking for immediate answers to challenges found them by working together — sharing experiences and determining those areas they needed to learn more about. Experienced sponsors began to mentor first-time sponsors on post-arrival issues leading to a resource around best practice. An informal network was born.
Since 2016, more than 400 sponsor groups working together have become a formal Ontario provincial network. There is potential, using this model, to grow this network concept across Canada in other provinces and territories.
The Network offers online workshops to address issues identified by private sponsors. Since 2016, we have offered over 20 workshops chosen to meet immediate need around issues of culture, accommodation, employment, education, health, ESL, among others. We recently launched an online Lunch and Learn tool with topics requested by sponsors, and are working on the development of a mentorship program.
Participants have appreciated the practical tips, expert advice and counsel, and input from individuals with lived experience. They came to the event with questions and went home with answers. They avoided pitfalls, accessed new ideas and new resources.
We offer an opportunity for private refugee sponsors to connect, learn and share. We have found that sharing our experience, challenges and success goes a long way to ensure effective and efficient settlement practice. Newcomers benefit from sponsors connecting.
Our goal is to be the “go-to” organization, a trusted resource, where sponsors can learn from each other through collaboration with settlement agencies and experts in a variety of fields. We want to make a difference in the lives of newcomers.